Jarange Urges Shinde Government: Decide on Maratha Reservation by Saturday 11 AM or Face Protest in Mumbai by 12 PM

Maratha leader Manoj Jarange issued an ultimatum to the Shinde government on Saturday morning, demanding Maratha reservation by 11 a.m. He stated that if the reservation ordinance was not issued by 11 a.m., they would commence protests at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan by 12 p.m.

Jarange’s convoy reached Vashi in Navi Mumbai on Friday morning. Several officials of the Maharashtra government held discussions with Jarange, and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde conversed with him over the phone. Following the meeting, Jarange mentioned that the state government had handed him some essential documents.

On Friday afternoon, he discussed the negotiations in front of his followers, stressing the need to fight for reservation. He emphasized their commitment to securing reservation rights, stating that they had come to Mumbai to assert their demands. However, no minister from the government attended the meeting convened by the officials.

Jarange highlighted that 54 lakh Kunbi circulars had been distributed. He urged the government to initiate the distribution of certificates. Placing the circulars outside the village councils would determine the validation of Kunbi certificates. The issuance of a single Kunbi certificate would benefit 50 to 150 individuals, potentially aiding around 2 crore Marathas.

Jarange Demands Information on Certificates from the Government

Jarange has stated that they have demanded information regarding certificates from the government. According to government records, certificates of Kunbi caste have been issued to 37 lakh individuals. They have requested clarification on this matter. The Shinde government has requested time to locate the circulars. Jarange has urged people to assist the government in finding the circulars.

It’s not feasible to address all our demands simultaneously; hence, we will address each demand gradually. Manoj has instructed that once a circular is received, it should be distributed to all relatives. For this, the government should issue an ordinance. Additionally, they have demanded the withdrawal of all cases filed against them and their supporters.

Jarange to Stay in Vashi Tonight, Sets Conditions Before the Government

Jarange has announced that he will stay in Vashi tonight with conditions set before the government. Manoj stated that he will not retreat until the ordinance is issued. He has given the government until Saturday at 12 p.m. to release it. Today, I am not going to Mumbai. If the deadline is extended to Azad Maidan on Saturday, I will not step back. My hunger strike will continue.

Government officials had a discussion with Manoj Jarange Patil in Batata Market of Navi Mumbai.

Police Warns Against Protest; Jarange’s March from Jalna to Mumbai for Maratha Reservation

Manoj initiated a march from Jalna to Mumbai on January 20th to demand Maratha reservation. Jarange and his supporters are planning a hunger strike at Azad Maidan in Mumbai. However, Mumbai Police has denied them permission to protest. Jarange had sought permission to protest either at Azad Maidan or Shivaji Park in Mumbai.

The Mumbai Police suggested that Jarange and his supporters hold their protest at International Corporate Park in Navi Mumbai. They issued a notice to Jarange on Thursday (January 25th). The notice stated that the capacity of Azad Maidan is only for accommodating 5 to 6 thousand protesters, and a large influx might create space constraints.

Meanwhile, several events are scheduled at Shivaji Park on Republic Day. Referring to the directives of the Bombay High Court, the police warned of action against protesters if they do not comply. However, Jarange remains firm on protesting in Mumbai.

He insisted that discussions should take place with Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, and Ajit Pawar to resolve the issue. Government representatives have been in constant touch with Jarange during this period.

Ministers Promised Reservation

On November 2, 2023, Agriculture Minister Dhananjay Munde had announced that the Legislative Assembly session would commence on December 7. During this session, discussions on Maratha reservation would be held on December 8. Jarange stated that the Maharashtra government had promised permanent reservation for the Maratha community. They have requested some time for this. We will give the government time to make Diwali sweet for all of us. If the government fails to provide reservation within the specified time, we will protest again in Mumbai in 2024.

Manoj Jarange holding a press conference after meeting the state government delegation on November 2, 2023.

Consensus in All-Party Meeting: Maratha Reservation Should Be Granted

Under the chairmanship of CM Eknath Shinde, a consensus was reached in an all-party meeting held on November 1, 2023, that the Maratha community should indeed receive reservation in Maharashtra. Leaders from 32 parties, including Sharad Pawar, participated in the meeting.

Following the meeting, CM Shinde stated, “It has been decided that reservation should be within the ambit of the law and without injustice to other communities.” He appealed to Manoj Jarange, who was on a hunger strike for reservation, to end his fast. Violence is not acceptable.

In the previous agitation, 29 individuals committed suicide. Prior to this, on October 25, 2023, Manoj Jarange commenced a hunger strike in the Antarwali Sarati village of Jalna district. The demand remained consistent: grant Maratha community the status of OBC and provide reservation. Within 9 days of the agitation, 29 individuals associated with the movement took their own lives.

Following this, four ministers of the state government, Dhananjay Munde, Sandipan Bhumre, Atul Save, and Uday Samant, met with Jarange and appealed for the end of the hunger strike. They promised to provide permanent Maratha reservation. Subsequently, on November 2, 2023, Manoj Jarange ended his hunger strike. Alongside, the government was given time until January 2, 2024, to fulfill its promises.

Maratha Reservation Decision

Supreme Court Cancels Maratha Reservation Decision Opposing Granting of Kunbi Certificates to OBC Community

The Supreme Court has annulled the decision to grant separate reservation to the Maratha community, opposing the issuance of Kunbi certificates to them. Following this, many individuals, including Manoj Jarange and Patil, claim that the Maratha society is fundamentally a part of the Kunbi caste. Therefore, if the Maratha community is issued Kunbi certificates, they would benefit from reservation under the OBC quota.

Currently, reservation under the OBC quota in the state stands at 19 percent. OBC community organizations argue that if the Maratha community is included, the benefits of reservation will extend to new individuals. Our opposition is not against Maratha reservation but rather against granting them reservation under the OBC category.

Niyati Rao

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